Random Acts of Kindness in a Pink, Ruffled Shirt

Random Acts of Kindness in a Pink, Ruffled Shirt is another excerpt in my memoir. To read other excerpts, please go here.


I arrived at the Judge’s chambers wearing my J Crew flat front pants and a very special item picked out at a vintage shop with the help of my friend M.: a 1970s, pink ruffled tuxedo shirt with black piping. The shirt signified all things changing in my life: my friendships, my life, my body. The shirt also signified a kind of balls out, all in attitude I now no longer possess. Today I would arrive at a judge’s chambers in a suit. But then I needed to expose myself and hide myself. The shirt functioned both as an armor and a revelation.

The shirt I now see was also a kind of dare. Like, I dare you to be nice to me. Becauseas I moved forward with the physical changes I desired I had prepared myself to lose everything: my home, my family, my then friends. Everything.

I had not expected to receive kindness. Rejecting myself for as long as I could remember, I had not planned on easy acceptance from others. How could I expect from others what I had been unable to give to myself?

No, I had not expected to receive kindness, and not from strangers.

There I was sitting in the chambers, waiting for my name to be called. Two lawyers got called before me. Then a white woman says, In the matter of the name change of ——,” so I stand and enter the area in front of the judge. He looks up, stunned, as I recall, and says, Are you ——?”

I am.”

—, Please administer the oath to this young man.”

After swearing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the Judge goes:

Why are you here today?”

I go: IamafemaletomaletranssexualandIamheretodaytochangemynamefrombirthnametomynewname.”

I recall he kind of bobbed his head like WTF but he would not have thought WTF since that is a blogging term and blogs didn’t really exist back then. But he sure appears amazed.

Then he goes:

Are you sure this is the best thing for you?”

I go:

It is.”

Then he goes:

Then I see no reason to deny this request.” He then signs some papers, the papers, actually, the ones granting a legal change of name, and says

I wish you the best of luck, sir.”

Up next The Adverb Is Not Your Friend The adverb is not your friend. I have shared that advice with countless writers in my capacity as a publisher. Most of them understand what I am It’s My Job to Pick up the Trash It’s my job to pick up the trash. After years of claiming to be a social justice activist, I cannot expect to end oppression if I expect other
Latest posts Voices in Time: Sylvia Rivera On Writing Distractions: FakeFriends Do the Work Before the Work Does You In On Being a Bad Writer Location Less Writing Unbearable Whiteness of Being Winging It Works?!? Gender Confirming Gender Getting Nothing for That Deal Who Should STFU? On Regret Body Words From the Past Curated Reading in Progressive Art & Culture ∙ No. 3 The Dildo Dilemma Curated Reading in Progressive Art & Culture • No. 2 Curated Reading in Progressive Art & Culture • No. 1 Just Red Vintage Ypsilanti Reflections Incense Hot Cross Buns on the Way Steampunk Spaceship Breckenridge Untitled Dvision Distortion On Transsexual Metaphors At the Continental Club Voices in Time: Sylvia Rivera Quote: Language Clouds with Power Tower How to Write 1.2 Million Words a Year Caveat Scriptor: Let the Writer Beware